A fired school district IT director who objected to orders to wipe out the email archive system was rightfully awarded over $1 million by a jury in 2015, an appellate court decided this month.
Elaine Allyn accused the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District of wrongful termination in 2012, and a jury unanimously awarded her $1.05 million for lost income and $148,000 in damages in 2015.
“Obviously, I am happy with the outcome of the appellate court. I think that it vindicates me,” said Allyn, who has spent the last couple years working for a private company. “I just really hope that the district lets this be the end and that they accept the outcome and we can move on with our lives. … I am shocked it has been five and a half years. It’s been a long road.”
The district’s legal fees fighting Allyn’s claims have cost more than $800,000 to date. Because the 5,000-student district is part of the county schools risk management joint powers authority, that group paid the fees and was reimbursed for $300,000 by an insurance carrier, according to San Diego County Office of Education spokeswoman Music Watson.
Allyn may finally see the jury award following the latest July 11 court decision – that too would come from the insurance carrier – though a statement provided by Fallbrook’s assistant superintendent Bill Billingsley said the school board is deciding next steps with legal counsel.
The statement, provided on behalf of Fallbrook’s superintendent Candace Singh, said in part: “The District is clearly disappointed in the appellate court’s decision and is reviewing its options to challenge it further. Although the jury found in the plaintiff’s favor, the leadership of FUESD steadfastly maintains that Mrs. Allyn was not a whistleblower, and that her own misconduct justified her termination from the District.”